Tag Archives: Forbes

The Philippines And Other Developing Countries Ramp Up Online Education Culture

By Jason Schmidt

Akshay Kulkarni wasn’t winning any awards as an undergraduate engineering student at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology (CBIT) in Hyderabad, India. All he had to show for his effort was a mediocre grade point average and growing skepticism focused on how his college degree would eventually help his future aspirations.

“Out of 400,000 seats available for engineers at colleges in my state,” says Kulkarni, “there were only 200,000 people even trying to get into those seats.” Although it was extremely easy to get an opportunity to earn an engineering degree in India, Kulkarni knew that landing a good engineering job was actually increasingly difficult.

Kulkarni understood that there had to be a way to differentiate himself from the thousands of other minnows floundering in the job market. Frustrated by the overall climate and structure of his undergraduate experience, he sought out a different avenue toward his future career: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

“I ended up taking something like 15 MOOC courses while completing my engineering degree,” says Kulkarni, noting that he focused almost exclusively on the MOOC educational alternative instead of attempting to get As in his in-person courses at CBIT.

The big moment for Kulkarni, who now works as a software engineer at Microsoft, came when he realized his path less traveled actually worked. “My MOOC experiences made a big impact in my interview with Microsoft. I think my online courses and certificates helped to compensate for my low grade point average in engineering school. The Microsoft interviewer asked me, ‘Do you know anything about cloud computing?’ and I was like ‘I just TA’ed for a MOOC cloud computing course at Berkeley.’ That was the last cloud computing question I got asked.”

And Kulkarni isn’t alone.

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News



Are MOOCs Key To Ensuring Your Skills Remain Valuable?

By Adi Gaskell

Last week I chaired a panel discussion at the EdTechX Summit in London on the skills required in the future workplace, and the panel touched on the crucial role lifelong learning will play if we, and our organizations, are to adapt to the rapidly changing times we find ourselves in.

It’s a crucial discussion to have because automation is widely regarded to be set to cause massive disruption to the careers of the present. Estimates vary, but we can probably expect perhaps a third of existing careers to be automated within the next 20 years, and yet these are exactly the careers that higher education is currently training people for.

Crossing The Chasm

Despite this apparent need for a more flexible, affordable and on-going approach to learning, platforms such as MOOCs have thus far failed to “cross the chasm” into the mainstream.

Most courses are taken by those already beholden of a degree, and there is a strong sense that HR departments are failing to capitalize on the courses available to ensure that employees are constantly learning and developing their skills. Indeed, a recent survey found that just one in four HR and learning and development professionals formed an established part of the training on offer to employees.

It was a perspective shared by Daphne Koller, founder of Coursera, who I spoke to at EdTechX. Despite the huge number of students enrolled on hers and other platforms, she still believes that MOOCs are in the early adopter stage of the innovation lifecycle.

Using MOOCs For Professional Development

Earlier this year, Wharton published an ebook that was specifically designed for professionals wishing to try out MOOCs as a way of brushing up their skills. The book chronicles the adventures of a number of professionals who have used MOOCs to bolster their resumes in ways that would ordinarily have been denied them by a combination of time and money.

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News



New Platform Aims To Revolutionize Executive Education

By Adi Gaskell

MOOCs, as with most other technologies, have stuck quite firmly to the notorious hype cycle that originally saw them destined to change education in profound ways.

Indeed, back in 2014, it was believed that the MOOC would not only disrupt higher education, but also executive education, with none other than the World Economic Forum backing MBA ala MOOC.

Alas, that revolution hasn’t really happened, with drop-out rates remaining very high, and student enrollment remaining largely the preserve of people that already have a good education.

As is common with the hype cycle, once the initial bluster dies down, organizations tend to tinker at the fringes and produce something better and more robust. This may be happening with the SPOCs that are being developed by the EMERITUS Institute of Management.

SPOC, which stands for Small, Private, Online Courses, are online courses that provide the “byte-size” nature of a MOOC but much better peer-to-peer learning that is more commonplace with a classroom-based course.

EMERITUS have teamed up with academics from the business schools at MIT Sloan, Columbia and Tuck to offer a range of classes on management and leadership. Whereas a typical MOOC might have many thousands of students, a course from EMERITUS will have maybe one to 200. These will then be further divided into small learning circles that will allow students to both put their learnings into practice and share expertise from around the world.

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in MOOCs in the News



Use Of MOOCs And Online Education Is Exploding: Here’s Why

By Josh Bersin

The folks at Class Central just released their data on the growth of online courses (MOOCs) in 2015 and the data is amazing.

More than 35 million people have enrolled in online courses in the last four years, and 2015 enrollments doubled from 2014.  (That’s equal to one out of five working professionals in the U.S.!)

Today there are more than 4,200 MOOC courses available (many more if you include the corporate training programs from companies like Udemy, BigThink, Pluralsight, Lynda, NovoEd, and Skillsoft).  These academic-authored programs cover many topics, and are expanding into general business areas more each year.  The most popular courses continue to be computer science and other engineering related subjects, but it’s expanding.  You can look at the top 10 most popular courses from Coursera and courses in financial management, negotiation, and business management are doing very well.

Fig 1: Distribution of Courses (from Class Central)

Now that we have all this great content available, the big trend is the availability of credentials – tests and accreditation you can receive for a fee. Most of the MOOC providers now offer such credentials (there are over 100) and they include tools like Nanodegrees (Udacity), Credentials of Readiness (Harvard), XSeries (EdX), and many more. It’s not yet clear how well these credentials will be recognized by employers, but that’s where this market is going.

In the corporate space, video-based self-study courses are exploding everywhere. Providers like Udemy, SkillSoft, Lynda (LinkedIn), Grovo, and BigThink are now exploding with expert content. Other companies with professional education include SkillShare, Pluralsight, General Assembly, Floqq, Iversity, and many others. Most of these companies focus on technical education – software skills, IT systems, and other technical topics.

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 5, 2016 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News



How Entrepreneurs Are Rethinking MOOCs

By Mike Montgomery

Only a few years ago, plenty of people were arguing that MOOCs, or massive open online courses, were going to completely disrupt colleges. Instead of having a professor lecture to a few hundred students—how inefficient and retro!—thousands of people from around the world could register for that same course, learn the material and take tests on their own time.

There’s no question that MOOCs are increasingly popular. According to one study more than 40,000 students, on average, take each class. And people are finding creative ways to use them, like a woman who is cobbling together the equivalent of an MBA from MOOCs for less than $1,000—and launching a business to help others do the same. Companies are using MOOCs to train workers, job hunters are learning marketable skills and people in remote locales are being exposed to top-notch professors.

Student working on a laptop computer.

Entrepreneurs are finding better ways to use MOOCs.

But as often happens, the initial wave of hype was hit with a ferocious backlash. Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen’s prediction that MOOCs will drive hundreds of universities into bankruptcy within a decade no longer seems prescient, as MOOC completion rates can be as low as 5 percent, indicating that many students who register don’t stay motivated to keep up with the material. Eighteen months ago, Sebastian Thrun, cofounder of Udacity, one of the original MOOC providers, declared, “We have a lousy product,” and pivoted the company toward paid courses in software development along with innovative Nanodegrees designed to teach a highly-focused set of skills leading to specific career opportunities.

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News



MOOCs Emerge As Disruptors To Corporate Learning

By Jeanne Meister

Three years ago, Thomas Friedman, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times wrote the forward looking column Come The Revolution where he summed up the disruption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on higher education in this way: “Big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary.” MOOCs offer not only free courses online, but also a system of testing, grading, peer-to-peer learning and certificates for completion that opens up higher education to the masses. Consider for a moment the cost of a four-year degree at a private university is over $45,000. My alma mater, the University of Connecticut, where I worked to put myself through college, is now priced over $26,000 for tuition and fees. Anant Agrawal, MIT computer science professor and the CEO of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based non-profit, edX, sees the day when learners will enroll in a series of MOOCs for their early years and then attend a brick and mortar university for the last two years. This two plus two future of higher education will result in significant disruptions for both private, public, and for-profit universities.

But this is just the beginning of the revolution. Companies have discovered the power of the MOOCs as a new way to design and deliver online learning, where learners become peer reviewers, collaborate with each other, are highly engaged in watching short videos, participate in threaded discussion groups and some arrange local meetups to continue their learning. And for those learners who complete all the assignments, there is the ability to earn a certificate from a university and post this on their LinkedIn profile. The bar for corporate learning has been raised and the revolution there is now just beginning. Large organizations such as Microsoft, AT&T and Tenaris are piloting their own custom created MOOCs. Others such as Bank of America and Qualcomm are developing a strategy to curate publicly available MOOCs aligned to their core competencies.

Our company, Future Workplace, wanted to uncover how pervasive this revolution was in corporate learning. Our survey entitled Leveraging MOOCs and Open Learning Assets In The Workplace was fielded to 222 heads of Human Resources, Corporate Learning and Talent Management. We also conducted a number of interviews with senior HR leaders to understand the drivers behind creating a company MOOC, the benefits and barriers, and the long term impact of MOOCs on corporate learning.

Four findings emerged as a wake-up call for Chief Human Resource Officers, Chief Learning Officers as well as senior business leaders.

Finding #1: MOOCs offer companies an innovative online learning design for employees plus the ability to externally offer MOOCs to attract potential new hires and new customers.

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News


Tags: , , ,

The Path To Disruption: Entrepreneurs, Incumbents, And The Next (R)evolution In Online Education

By Michael Lenox

The bloom is off the rose. Massively open online courses

(MOOCs), heralded by Silicon Valley visionaries and higher education critics alike as the great disruptor of the university, are coming under increased criticism for their failure to provide the powerful learning outcomes that their proponents predicted. Foremost of concern to the naysayers is the low completion rates of most MOOCs, as low as 4% as reported in some surveys (see this study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania). There are many reasons for this, but it is becoming clear that flashy videos and engaging problem sets are in of themselves not sufficient to generate commitment among many participants.

On the path to disruption such setbacks are to be expected. The evolving market for online education is a great case study for potential disruptors and disruptees in other markets. New technologies tend to progress up lumpy “S-curves,” improving slowly at first until reaching a critical juncture where innovation accelerates. It is often only during this accelerating phase that the new technology begins to surpass legacy technologies on important dimensions of merit. Driving this S-curve are the hundreds, if not thousands, of actions by intrepid entrepreneurs and innovative incumbents. Experimentation is the norm and learning the imperative. Many efforts will fail, but a few successes have the potential to drive disruption. Such as the case with online education. The innovative efforts of leading incumbents and the bold visions of novel start-ups are pushing the industry forward.

Recent evidence suggests that creating a community of learners is critical to gaining commitment and ultimately a powerful learning environment for all involved. Bharat Anand, Jan Hammond, and V.G. Narayanan writing about Harvard’s experience with HBX cite the importance of creating a vibrant social, collaborative experience online (see the article here). By engineering opportunities for online engagement between learners, they were able to substantially raise completion rates (85% in the case of HBX CORe). Similar results have been found by other online providers including edtech start-up NovoEd that hosts a variety of courses including one of the first MOOCs, Technology Entrepreneurship, by Stanford professor Chuck Eesley (a collaborator of mine). Since its inception, the course has required students to form teams and work collaboratively on creating entrepreneurial ventures (see here).

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in MOOCs in the News, Op-Ed


Tags: , ,


How Disruptive Are MOOCs? Hopkins Genomics MOOC Launches In June

By Steven Salzberg

If you could visit a college classroom a hundred years from now, would you expect it to look just like one of today’s classrooms?

I suspect not.

Yet if you walked into almost any college classroom today, you’d see a scene right out of the 19th century: students sitting in a classroom listening to a professor talk. Perhaps the professor is using a laptop to project slides, rather than writing on a chalkboard, but other signs of the 21st century can be hard to find.

Of course the content today is different, particularly in the sciences–no one even knew what DNA was 200 years ago–but the way we teach has barely changed in the past two centuries.

Well, it’s changing now. The advent of massive, online open courses (MOOCs) is making high-quality content available to millions of people for the first time, and much of it is free. These online courses, even in their infancy, have generated a huge response, revealing the hunger out there for learning.

Professors too are discovering something: how rewarding it is to reach thousands of students rather than just a handful. And capturing lectures on video allows us to mix and match material, updating just the parts that need changing and re-using the good stuff with relatively little effort.

Hopkins joined the MOOC revolution last year, with a Data Science series of courses led by Brian Caffo, Jeff Leek, and Roger Peng. This June we’re launching a new specialization on genomic data science, that five of my colleagues and I are teaching. Coursera announced our 6-course specialization just a few days ago; Jeff Leek and Roger Peng produced a teaser video that you can watch here:

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News



From MOOCs To Minerva: Higher Education And Beyond

Imagine a college experience without the brick-and-mortar college. You hit the snooze button on your alarm a few times in the morning and finally stagger out of bed, yet instead of racing across the quad to make it to your lecture on time, you open up your laptop and a grid of windows showing the alternately groggy or hyped-on-caffeine faces of your classmates pops up alongside another window presenting your instructor.

There is no need for paper and pencils, no rearranging of students when group projects are assigned; in fact, there are very few indications of the experience we generally attribute to higher education.

While what’s described above is only one of the most recent ideas in the revitalization of higher education, it is the most promising. In a time when the glossy reputation of the university system in America is tarnished by rapidly rising costs for students, innovators and educators alike are exploring new options to lower costs on the student’s end while still providing a quality education.

WELLESLEY HILLS, MA – MARCH 12: Sara da Silva works on two computer screens at once at Mass Bay Community College in a computer science course that is designed in conjunction with online learning from MIT, on March 12, 2013 in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Students watch video lectures on their own through an edX MOOC, massive open online course, and then attend class at their community college where the professor helps them understand their homework. Online learning is a big trend in education. Da Silva hopes to transfer to UMass after saving money here.
[ Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images ]

The biggest development so far has been massive open online courses , where tens of thousands of people can enroll online for a series that provides lecture videos, assignments, and forums for class discussion. Yet this option has experienced numerous growing pains that include a lack of institutions that offer credit for MOOCs, lecture videos of poor quality, low rates of interaction with the course, and issues with assignment grading, among other things.

While futurists try to work out the kinks, it is still apparent that MOOCs cannot provide the level of education students receive by physically attending a lecture and interacting with their instructor. The class sizes of MOOCs make it nearly impossible for professors to grade assignments and address the queries of their pupils, if the professors are interacting at all and not just putting a signature to an agreement to have videos of their lectures used.

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News



What Can Entrepreneurs Gain From MOOCs? (And The 5 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Be Asking)

By Cheryl Conner

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are great for students, good for executives, provide education certificates, and most importantly, they are free. But what kind of an impact are they making for entrepreneurs?

Today I had the chance to visit with Bill Aulet, managing director for the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship at MIT. Aulet is a consummate entrepreneur—as someone “closing in on 60” he’s raised more than $100 million in funding for the various companies he has founded and run. And he’s authored a book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship. But for the past five years, the endeavor that has most fully captured Aulet’s passion is cultivating and teaching other entrepreneurs through edX, the online learning initiative from Harvard and MIT.

These days Aulet divides his time between traditional coursework on entrepreneurship as a senior lecturer for the Martin Trust Center for MIT with his efforts on the two MITx courses he developed specifically for edX: Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer? and Entrepreneurship 102: What can you do for your customer?

Aulet is unbridled in his enthusiasm for MOOCs. “Initially, when I was asked ‘can’t you do an online course on entrepreneurship?’ I was reluctant,” he says. “It is so hard to teach entrepreneurship in a cookie cutter fashion. There’s no algorithm. It’s not like programming Java, or Math or Physics. The path you take depends on your company.”

“This has been one of the most exciting things that I’ve done, to see this happen,” he continues. “There are people in Africa saying ‘this is the first time I see a path to financial independence,’ for example.”

[ Full article available at Forbes: ]

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 23, 2014 in MOOCs in the News


Tags: , ,